Anime Underground

13 Reasons Why Naruto Is Way Darker Than You Remember  

Anna Lindwasser
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If you're into anime, you've at least heard of Naruto, the story of a fiery kid on a journey to become the hokage (basically the ninja president). Whether you have watched all the seasons or got lost somewhere in the vast oceans of filler, you might not have noticed that it's a surpsingly dark anime. A closer look at this ninja world will show you all the secretly horrifying things in Naruto.

Sure, the show is about a punk in an orange jumpsuit who's always shouting, "Believe it!" in the dub, but while the show might seem innocuous, there's actually a ton of disturbing things about Naruto. For example, there's rampant eyeball theft, which isn't a common plot line you'll find in shounen series. Then there's the fact that the foundation of the world is based upon wars fought by children. Want to learn more about the weird and creepy things in Naruto? Keep reading.

Eyeball Theft Is Rampant
Eyeball Theft Is Rampant is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 13 Reasons Why Naruto Is Way Darker Than You Remember
Photo:  Studio Pierrot

One recurring plot line in Naruto involves stealing other people's eyeballs. This sounds bizarre, and it is, but here's the reason: in the Narutoverse, some of the most spectacular abilities are doujutsu, or powers located in the eyes. Examples include the sharingan and the byakugan. The sharingan allows its user to copy any ninja technique it views, see another person's chakra (the energy source that allows ninja to use their abilities), and hypnotize others using genjutsu. The byakugan allows its user to see for hundreds of miles, see chakra, see through walls, and in extreme cases, even see another person's thoughts and feelings.

While these are typically passed on genetically through individual clans, anyone who transplants a doujutsu into their own eye socket can technically wield its power. This results in things like members of the Hyuuga family being repeatedly kidnapped so that thieves can pluck out their eyes, mass conspiracies involving murdering sharingan users so that thieves can take their eyes, and more. One of the show's major villains, Danzo, literally embeds a bunch of Uchiha eyeballs into his own arm, which withers said arm dramatically. This disgusting fate was well-deserved, considering the fact that he orchestrated the deaths of the people those eyes belonged to. 

Not Only Do Kids Go To War, They're Horrifically Manipulated By Adults
Not Only Do Kids Go To War, Th... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 13 Reasons Why Naruto Is Way Darker Than You Remember
Photo:  Studio Pierrot

Kids in the Narutoverse aren't just being groomed for warfare - they're also being manipulated by adults to do some truly terrifying things. For example, there's 13-year-old Itachi Uchiha, who was ordered to kill his entire clan or be murdered along with them, Danzo's army of brainwashed orphans, Orochimaru's separate army of brainwashed orphans, and that part where Madara seals a tailed beast into the young Rin Nohara in a ploy to manipulate his critically injured relative, Obito Uchiha, into joining his quest to reboot humanity. Few of the adults in Naruto hesitate when it comes to manipulating kids into committing atrocities.

The Show Prioritizes Maintaining The Status Quo Over Making Things Right
The Show Prioritizes Maintaini... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 13 Reasons Why Naruto Is Way Darker Than You Remember
Photo:  Studio Pierrot

After finding out that Danzo, one of the worst human beings to exist in an anime, forced Itachi to murder the entire Uchiha clan, Sasuke was pissed. Because Danzo was in a position of political power, and because the city of Konoha was perfectly content to do nothing whatsoever to make it up to Sasuke, he ended up hating Konoha and wanting to dismantle it and start it over. His ancestor, Madara, basically had the same goal. His life was an unrelenting hellscape of violence and war, and so he wanted to make humanity start all over.  

Obviously, destroying a city, or destroying all of humanity, is a pretty terrible goal, no matter what the reason is. The truly screwed up part isn't that they were stopped from doing these things, or even that they wanted to do them in the first place. No, the truly screwed up part is that no one really tried to fix the endless warfare and violence that led them there. Nobody tried to make any sort of meaningful reparations to the Uchiha family, and Konoha seems more or less ready to go to war again whenever. 

The worst thing about all this is that Naruto Uzumaki, the main character, becomes the hokage. This means that he has the power to make meaningful change that could either make up for the past or protect the future. Instead, his main goal as hokage seems to be maintaining the same warmongering Konoha that's always existed. He can forgive you and absolve you of your sins before he kills you, but he won't try to solve the problem that made you his enemy to begin with. 

Orphans Are Basically Ignored
Orphans Are Basically Ignored is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 13 Reasons Why Naruto Is Way Darker Than You Remember
Photo:  Studio Pierrot

Naruto Uzumaki, the main character of Naruto, is an orphan whose parents died shortly after his birth. You would think that the next logical step would be to find him some adoptive parents. Nope - Konoha rents him an apartment, where he's left alone save for the occasional check-ins from members of ANBU (a black ops organization) while he's literally a baby. Once he's old enough to feed himself, he's pretty much on his own. 

Because of the whole "tailed beast sealed in his body" thing, one might assume that Naruto is a special case. Maybe the town is so afraid of him that the Konoha government couldn't find an adoptive family, and other orphans are properly cared for. But Naruto is far from the only orphan to experience this fate. His teacher, Iruka Umino, raised himself after his parents were killed when he was ten. After Sasuke's entire family was murdered, he was left alone in the house where it happened as soon as the dead bodies were cleared. The fact that Naruto is even sort of stable is remarkable, considering the fact that he basically raised himself from birth.